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How does a Pressure Cooker work?

Science | 9-12 yrs | Animation, Video [tab name="about"] The sound of a pressure cooker may be startling but it is a call to you that it is doing its job. Yes! Food will be served soon. This nifty appliance cuts the amount of time it takes for food to cook. There are 2 very important things happening inside the chamber of a pressure cooker. Lets break down that process to understand it all STEAM AND PRESSURE A combination of steam and pressure make the pressure cooker this efficient kitchen delight. The two work together to cook things in no time. One of the reasons we use water to cook food is because it is a better conductor of heat than air is. You can raise the temperature of water to transfer its energy to the water in food. Basically cooking it. The boiling point of water is 100C but did you know that this is true only under normal atmospheric conditions? This means that if you were trying light a fire under a pot of water on Mt. Everest, the water would begin to boil once it reaches 71C because there is less pressure 8,848m above sea level. A pressure cooker does the opposite of what Mt. Everest does- it increases the pressure so that the water will come to a boil higher than its regular boiling point. Changing the pressure conditions inside a sealed cooker means that the water is able to get much hotter without evaporating and when it finally turns into steam, the moisture-laden air is hotter than the steam that would come out of your tea kettle. The trapped steam begins to work its magic immediately since water is a good conductor of heat and all food stuff contains water. But this is only half of the reason why it takes so little time to cook food inside a pressure cooker. The increased pressure inside the cooker literally forces heat into the food. Think of the pressure as an invisible hand pushing the extra-hot steam into the very core of the food inside. But if the pressure is like a crushing hand then why doesnt the food come out all smashed? Well this is because the steam applies uniform pressure to all surfaces of the food and that leaves the food un-smushed. PARTS OF A PRESSURE COOKER A pressure cooker is made up of a pot, a lid which fits precisely on the pot with a locking

mechanism; a rubber ring that goes between the lid and the pot so that no air can escape; a valve on top of the lid with a release whistle There are 2 extremely important parts in all pressure cookers. The rubber ring that goes between the pot and the lid ensures that no air escapes from inside the container; if it did then the pressure would not be able to build up. The valve on the top is a safety measure that makes sure the pressure does not build up to dangerous levels inside the pot. This could lead to a potentially dangerous explosion. It is designed to allow some of the steam to escape after the pressure inside reaches a certain point. And with that startling whistle we know how much the food has been cooked.[/tab] [tab name="project"] Ask your mum how long different foods would take to cook inside a pressure cooker. Ask her to tell you in how many whistles, not actual time. When she is cooking these different foods see how long it actually takes. Here are the names of different foods you can try: 1 cup of rice 4 potatoes 1 cup of dal [/tab]

Introductory Physics 101 (Just Kidding)

How Does it Do That Thing it Does?

Steam cooks many foods quicker than dry cooking methods. Steam is efficient in transferring cooking heat rapidly to foods upon contact without burning or damaging the final product, and for less energy than either electricity or gas. As a result, steam can be used to cook anything from delicate, tendercrisp veggies to large chunks of meat, either fresh or hard frozen. To understand how a pressure cooker works, you need to know just a little about physics. Simply put, water boils at 212o Farenheit. At this point, no matter how long you continue to boil, it always stays the same temperature. As the water evaporates and becomes steam it is Consider the difference in cooking between an oven and steamer for example. You can put your hand in a 400oF oven and not burn yourself, but put your hand over a boiling tea kettle and the 212oF steam will scald immediately. This is due to the different

also the same temperature, 212o F. Why isn't the food pulverized? It's all in the physics: As long as pressure is uniform on all surfaces of an object, it won't be distorted. Pressure is effective throughout the food items, from the surface through to the center! No matter whether you're cooking a single chicken breast,or a 5-pound ham. The only way to make the steam hotter (and/or to boil the water at a higher temperature) is to put the system under pressure. This is what a pressure cooker does. If we fit an absolutely tight cover to the pan so no steam can escape while we continue to add heat, both the pressure and temperature inside the vessel will rise. The steam and water will both increase in temperature and pressure, and each fluid will be at the same temperature and pressure as the other. Steam has six times the heat potential when it condenses on a cool food product. This increased heat transfer potential is why steam is such an effective cooking medium. If you put water into a pot and cover it with a tightly sealed lid, the steam will remain trapped and pressure will build and that rises the temperature at which the liquid boils. So at 15psi your food is cooking at 257oF instead of just 212oF. When you turn off the heat and begin to drop the pressure you will sometimes hear the food begin to boil inside the closed pot as the pressure drops and the contents come back down to the normal boiling temperature. See more about pressure settings.

methods of heat transfer: Air is a poor conductor of heat; but water is a good conductor. Think of being outside when it's 70oF (quite pleasant) versus being in a pool of water at 70oF (feels very cold). The increased pressure inside the pot delays the water and/or other liquids inside the pot from boiling under it reaches a much higher temperature. As a result, the cooking process is sped up considerably. A pressure cooker works by building up pressure from steam in the pot, which cooks food at a very high temperature. This method can cut cooking time by up to two-thirds, and will also retain the nutritional value and moisture of foods. Pressure cookers create a closed environment that literally forces steam through foods to effect heat transfer. When the tightly sealed cooker is set over high heat, steam pressure builds and the internal temperature rises. This environment ranges from 5 to 10psi in low and medium pressure units and 15psi in standard high-pressure units which enables cooking at temperatures of 257o F. Under high pressure (15 pounds per square inch), the fiber in food is tenderized and flavors mingle in record time. What's more, fewer nutrients are lost because cooking is so speedy and nutrient-rich steam condenses in the pot instead of being lost in the air. More cooks are becoming interested in pressure cooking as a way of creating healthful meals and to meet the demand of a busy schedule. Cooks are turning, or in many cases, returning to pressure cooking because of its versatility in preparing many different foods. Today's cook wants the convenience of faster cooking without the loss of nutrients normally lost to air, water, heat from cooking

Pressure cookers are especially designed cookware of aluminum or stainless steel. All models have a lock-on lid and a vent or pressure relief valve. Most pressure cookers are designed to be used on top of your stove, but there are some electrical models and also a one that is supposed to work in the microwave. Food is cooked by the high temperatures inside the cooker. Click here to see how the internal pressure compares to temperatures. This high temperature is made possible by raising the pressure to a point greater than atmospheric pressure. Cooking times are based on pounds of pressure.

methods used in regular pots